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Chandan Dangi, October 11, 2004

Gairsain was in the TV News Channels captions since Oct. 02, 2004. The print media did follow its coverage subsequently, following the deteriorating health conditions of two fasting activists of Uttarakhand Mahila Manch – Dr. Uma Bhatt and Smt. Dhooma Devi.

How does media collect information from Gairsain, which is the centre of action and not accessible by phone (STD has been deactivated since Oct. 4), disconnected by road from Karnaprayag due to a minor landslide near Simli. One has to really visit Gairsain to know the ground reality.

On Oct. 8, it was reported that both the starving activists were arrested. But, the reality was that the police force could not identify Dr. Uma Bhatt and instead arrested Puja Mehra from the Ramlila Ground, Gairsain, where the MANCH is holding mission permanent capital of the state at Gairsain and fasting unto death.

To know what was going on there, I went to Gairsain on Oct. 9, reached Gairsain through Haldwani-Ranikhet-Dwarahat-Bhikyasain at 11PM. There were about 10-15 activists on the spot. Shri Rajendra Dhasmana, human right activist and media expert was with me. So, we met Smt. Dhooma Devi at Sushila Tewary hospital at Haldwani and heard her statement and the hardship and humiliation by AAPKI MITRA UA police before and after her arrest.

On Oct. 10, at 6 AM, as I woke-up, over 100 strong police force was heading their way to the DHARNA ground. The activists made a quick announcement by the loudspeaker and appealed to the people, including the media personnel who had reached there to avoid repetition of what happened on Mujaffarnagar in 1994 and also the human rights violation of democratic way of protesting by them. One policeman hit the electric wire connecting the stage. There was clear indication of aggression and his action was uncalled for. Another arrested Dr. Sekhar Pathak who was taking photograph and had come to see the condition of his wife Umaji.

SDM-Chamoli, Mr. Uday S Rana and Co. Commandant K R Bhatt forced their way to arrest Dr. Uma Bhatt. They could not get entry amid strong protest. The situation could be saved by intervention of Press and eminent people who had come from Delhi, Lucknow, Nainital, Dehradun and Almora. SDM Rana was requested to send back the police back to their Cantt. Which is really a scene to be seen at Gairsain.

There were abt. 10 policewomen who in the meantime, kept trying to make their entry for Dr. Bhatt’s arrest and failed. Co. Comt. Bhatt once again tried and was thrown away by Puja Mehra and others.

Finally at 7:40, amid shouting slogans against NDTewary, RS Tolia, DM Ajay Nabiyal and police SP of Chamoli Ashok Tamta (reportedly coming drunken to arrest Dhooma Devi on Friday) the Dr. Uma Bhatt was taken in an ambulance to Ranikhet.

Sh. Dharam Singh Rawat, IAS (Retd) who had sit on a hunger strike in 1986 against his own un-accountable Govt. system in Lucknow announce that the Govt. can not ignore the demands of fasting activists and decided to sit on fast till 16th of Oct., Smt. Kamla Shah, another local women also decided to sit on fast unto death. I accompanied Umaji to hospital. The story of hospitals and facilities will open yet another chapter, hence I would like to cut short by stating that Ranikhet CMO, Surgeon, and Physician referred her to Haldwani because there is no pathologist there. Three private pathologists give different reports for the same test, hence not credible.

According to Dhasmana ji, after the 2nd arrest, the agitators took out a protest rally and tried to mob the DM-Chamoli who has made his temporary H/Q at Gairsain. The rallyists came back to the venue and had meeting chaired by R S Dhasmana and attended by Dr. SS Bisht, Sh. Rajiv L Sah, Sh. D S Rawat, Mrs. Kamla Pant Sh. PC Tewari and others. University Student union leader DV Naithani also announced that they will mobilise villages to really intensify the movement.

2 Comments to GAIRSAIN UPDATE (Oct. 11)

  1. Anonymous

    The issue of Gairsain has again flared up, with hundreds of protestors sitting on fast unto death. Activist Uma Bhatt was forcefully lifted from the site by the police and was taken to the hospital. Retired I.A.S. and President of ‘Bharat ki Lok Zimmedar Party’ Mr. Dharm Singh Rawat took the reigns and sat on the fast. The other political parties have also joined, like Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (UKD), CPI, CPI (M) and various other leftist factions. Conspicuous by its absence was Congress and though the BJP-RSS, had sent their Uttaranachal reprsentative Sheshadri Chari, who was impudent enough to say that there is no need for movement for having Gairsain declared as state capital or for any trivial issue and that various aspects have to be looked into. This is what, BJP and RSS think of people’s movement in a place which is believed to be BJP’s atronghold. While a BJP activist (of course an Uttarakhandi) said that the issue of state capital should be resolved as soon as possible (He didnt point out where would he want the state capital to be declared). In the coming days, issue is expected to pick up a lot of heat and dust, but it has for sure, unmasked both the Congress and the BJP.

    The statement by Sheshadri Chari goes on to show that pseudo-hindu and pseudo nationalist parties like BJP and the RSS are hell bent on eliminating regional aspirations, pride, culture and history for their vicious and preposterous experiment of Hindu Rashtra. Three proposals, which were sent by Uttar Pradesh assembly for the creation of Uttarakhand to the Centre did not have the district of Haridwar, yet the treacherous LK Advani of BJP included Haridwar and now we have the frankestein in disguise of delimitation staring in our face. People fought for Uttarakhand and got Uttarachal and a non Pahari as its first Chief Minister. People wanted Gairsain to be declared as the undisputed capital but instead under the pressure from politicians from other states, mafiosi the incumbents have been procrastinating on the issue of state capital. The Dikshit Commission formed under BJP’s (mis)rule and then dissolved and then again brought up by NDT, has been trying hard to delay or to throw spanner in the process of getting Gairsain declared as state capital. Now even the geologist have decreed that geological strata in and around Gairsain is safe and it is ok to declare the region as the permanent state capital. Yet, sometimes the Dikshit Commission says Ramanagar is also an option, sometimes it says Hrishikesh and sometimes it says Haridwar. So in all this guy Dikshit is more interested in getting his term extended as he is getting cabinet level perks and facilities from the government. And since, he knows that he doesnt have anything to do, so it is better to keep the issue of Gairsain in the air of uncertainity, to further his, othwerwise insignificant role in Uttarakhand.

    It is clear neither the Congress nor the BJP is worried about the people of Uttarakhand. We need to realise that these parties are using us as pawns for their electoral gains and in the chessboard of politics. Congress though, is digging its own grave, BJP should be also dealt a deathly blow and people should come out in support of the regional parties and those affiliated with them like UKD, CPI(M/L), CPI and CPI (M), who are giving their full fledged support to the people’s movement. But the good thing is the influence of the BJP and RSS has started waning and it would be no surprise if people eventually start feeling closer to leftist ideology. Otherwise nothing stops the religious terrorists from saffron brigade to sacrifice the dreams, aspirations, history and idetity of Uttarakhand for the grand design of their final political goal.

  2. Here are the direct emails for some state officials, kindly provided by Chandanji: (For Chief Secretary, RS Tolia) (OSD to CM) (Uttaranchal Info Centre in Delhi) (Dept. of info, DDN)